This is the new Nio ET7 – an electric family car from a Chinese maker that has Tesla set firmly in its sights.
The plug-in saloon not only looks phenomenally futuristic but also has some seriously big claims, headlined by a driving range of more than 620 miles on a single charge.
Not only that, the priciest version is to go on sale in China from next year at a cost of around £60,000.
That’s less than half the price of Elon Musk’s forthcoming Tesla Model S Plaid, which will have the longest driving range of all the Tesla variants with a claimed distance of 520-plus miles on one charge. Should the man who was briefly the world’s richest person be concerned?
China’s latest challenge to Tesla: This is the Nio ET7 – an electric family car with impressive claims that would make it a real rival to Elon Musk’s EV models
This isn’t the first time we’ve covered details of a new electric car from Chinese manufacturer Nio.
Back in 2016, we brought you full details of its EP9 electric hypercar, which had lapped the legendary 14.17-mile Nurburgring circuit in Germany in a then record 6 minutes and 46 seconds – a time that’s only since been trumped by an electric-powered car when the Volkswagen ID R racer bettered the lap in 2019.
The ET7, while boasting more than ample performance, is more about extending the capabilities of electric vehicles for families rather than lap times.
In its native China, it will go head-to-head with proven European rivals including the BMW 7 Series and Mercedes-Benz S-Class – though it’s the Tesla Model S that most will pin it against for a direct comparison.
While it might look like something from the future, drivers in China can order one today, with the cheapest version costing from ¥448,000, which is around £51,000.
The most affordable ET7 will come with a 70kWh battery, which is the smallest of three options available and provides a claimed range of 310 miles.
Three variants of the ET7 will be available with varying battery capacities. The smallest pack is a 70kWh battery offering a claimed 310-mile range and the car will cost around £51,000 in China
The flagship model has a massive 150kWh battery pack, which is said to be able to cover over 1,000km (620 miles) on a single charge
The top of the line car with the longest range – and capable of accelerating from 0-62mph in 3,9 seconds – will cost around £60,000
A mid-range version with a 100kWh pack has a 435-mile range, but it’s the 150kWh flagship variant that is making the biggest promises.
This includes a range in excess of 1,000km – more than 620 miles – on a fully charged battery.
However, Tesla and Elon Musk – who was briefly the world’s richest man for four days before Tesla stocks dipped on Tuesday – shouldn’t be too panicked by these claims just yet.
That’s because the Nio range figures quoted are based on the outdated NEDC test cycle, rather than the latest WLTP assessment which the US electric car maker’s stats are based on.
The current test is a far more accurate representation of how far an EV can travel and is far less generous than the defunct NEDC cycle.
That means the Nio’s figures are likely to fall by quite a substantial amount, bringing it closer in line with the Tesla Model S line-up, which offers ranges of 396, 405 and the forthcoming tri-motor Plaid’s 520-plus miles.
That said, even at ¥526,000 – which works out at around £60,000 – the longest-range ET7 will be far less pricey than the £130,980 Tesla that’s due to arrive in the UK at the end of the year.
As for driving performance, the flagship ET7 uses a 180kW motor at the front axle and a 300kW electric motor at the rear, which together produce a combined 644bhp – more than a Lamborghini Huracan Evo but much less than the Tesla Model S Plaid’s 1,100bhp claim
Tesla shouldn’t be too panicked by the arrival of the ET7 just yet. That’s because the Nio range figures quoted are based on the outdated NEDC test cycle, rather than the latest – and far more accurate and realistic – WLTP assessment which the US electric car maker’s stats are based on
Elon Musk’s net worth in the last week has soared to $188.5billion after a 6 per cent surge in Tesla shares. It made him the world’s richest person briefly this week
The Tesla Model S Plaid will arrive in the UK later this year with some incredibly impressive figures. Though the asking price is a steep £130,980
The Nio won’t be delivered to the earliest of Chinese customers until 2022 – and it is scheduled to come to Europe, though at a so-far undisclosed date.
When it does arrive on the continent, the vehicle maker says it will comply with Euro NCAP crash test requirements, which are the most stringent in the world and said to be far more painstaking than those in China.
As for driving performance, the flagship ET7 uses a 180kW motor at the front axle and a 300kW electric motor at the rear, which together produce a combined 644bhp – more than a Lamborghini Huracan Evo but much less than the Model S Plaid’s 1,100bhp claim.
There’s enough silent potency for the Nio to hit 62mph from a standstill in 3.9 seconds, which is twice as long as it will take the ultra-expensive Tesla but still more than rapid enough to pin you into the seat.
The chassis is a combination of high-strength steel and aluminium and it sits on a state-of-the-art air suspension system that uses sensors to detect when the road conditions are less than ideal and actively adjusts the ride settings accordingly.
While no official weight for the electric vehicle has been quoted, the Chinese firm says the hefty family car will come to a halt from a speed of 62mph in just 33.5 metres, which is less than seven times its own length.
The ET7 measures in at 5,098mm long, 1,987mm wide and 1,505mm high – all dimensions that marginally eclipse those of a Tesla Model S
Left: The Nio has an electric motor on both the front and rear axles and the battery pack is contained in the chassis floor. Right: The chassis is a combination of high-strength steel and aluminium and it sits on a state-of-the-art air suspension system
The interior uses a ‘Karuun’ renewable rattan for some of the furnishings, is dominated up front by a high-definition 12.8-inch display and will feature Nio’s ‘Nomi’ AI assistant
The ET7 measures in at 5,098mm long, 1,987mm wide and 1,505mm high – all dimensions that marginally eclipse those of a Tesla Model S. A 3,060mm wheelbase means there should be ample interior space, too.
The cabin itself is described as an ‘interpretation of the second living room concept’ with frameless soft-closing door and a world first use of ‘Karuun’ renewable rattan for some of the furnishings.
The seats will have massage, heating and ventilation as standard for every passenger, wile the cockpit is dominated by a 12.8-inch high-definition central display.
The ET7 also retains Nio’s world’s first in-car AI (artificial intelligence) system called ‘Nomi’ to help drivers adjust settings on the move and features a booming sound system made up of 23 speakers and 1,000W total output.
Nio’s designers have most definitely opted for the minimalist approach, with a very clean dashboard with not a single function button
All seats come as standard with massage, heated and ventilated functionality, so no passengers have to miss out on luxuries
The car will also be capable of fully autonomous driving in the future. Much of the technology to power the system is housed in what Nio calls a ‘Watchtower’ above the windscreen, which scans the road ahead
Nio has made the saloon future-proof and prepped it for self-driving functionality when it eventually becomes legal around the globe.
The car’s autonomous package is operated by 11 external cameras, a long-range LiDAR system, 12 ultrasonic sensors and a plethora of processors that can run through 8GB of data per second.
Much of the technology is housed in what Nio calls a ‘Watchtower’ above the windscreen, which scans the road ahead.
It is yet to be confirmed if the self-driving capabilities will be available on cars delivered from next year; a software update unleashing the autonomous mode is more likely.
While the current claimed range figures remain in question and with no official launch date in Europe and other markets outside China, Tesla’s boss won’t be concerned just yet. But it does signal that rivals from the far east are rapidly playing catch-up and will be on Mr Musk’s coattails soon enough…
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